lanes on Hilliard debated
By Kevin Kelley
Published June 21, 2006
officials are divided on the wisdom of adding bike lanes to Hilliard
Bob Kelly, the city’s director of
engineering, and Will Krause, assistant director of planning
and economic development, spoke in favor of adding the lanes at
a City Council safety committee meeting June 8. Kelly presented
a proposal that would paint lines creating four-foot lanes along
the curbs for cyclists in both eastbound and westbound directions
on Hilliard Boulevard from the Rocky River border to Dover Center
Car lanes would be narrowed to a width of 11 feet,
Krause said lanes wider than four feet would be better,
adding that Hilliard would be the ideal street for this to be done.
But Police Chief Richard Walling said his research
indicated that bike lanes alongside car traffic have not been proven
safe. Accidents can happen when cars exit a driveway or a car fails
to yield while making a turn, he said.
While the city has had discussions about creating
bike paths for years, the issue came to a head as council considered
approving a contract with a company to paint road stripes and crosswalks
in anticipation of the opening of school in the fall.
According to Mary Calabrese, the city’s director of
purchasing, the contract with Mar-King Construction is worth $172,385
for paint striping on various streets throughout the city. Painting
the bike lanes would be an additional $12,150, she said.
Council dealt with the situation by adding the bike
lanes as an option to the contract.
Ward 4 Councilman Michael O’Donnell is against adding
the bike lanes and was alone in voting against the amendment adding
that option to the contract.
“I don’t think it’s safe based on the police chief’s
report,” O’Donnell told West Life.
The option of painting in bike lanes on Hilliard is
seen by some city officials as an intermediate step toward building
dedicated bike paths within the median of that boulevard. But a
permanent bike path, like those in parts of the Cleveland Metroparks,
could cost as much as $500,000, Kelly said.
For his part, Mayor Dennis Clough expressed support
for the painted bike paths.
“I like riding a bike,” the mayor told West Life.
If the bike paths cause too many problems or prove
to be dangerous, they can always be painted over, Clough said.
“If people are willing to try it as an experiment,
I’m willing to try it as an experiment,” he said.
A final decision on the bike lanes will likely be
made at a council committee of the whole meeting at 7:30 p.m. June
28 when the issue will be further debated.